Adamawa Businessman Convicted, Jailed for Insulting Governor Fintiri

Mr. Ali Yakubu Numan

A Chief Magistrate Court in Yola, Adamawa State, has convicted and sentenced a businessman in the State, Mr. Ali Yakubu Numan, to two years and six months in prison for insulting the State Government Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, whom he reportedly called the “biggest and father of all thieves in Nigeria” in a series of Facebook posts.

Mr. Numan was tried and convicted by Magistrate Japhet Basani upon a complaint lodged by State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Afraimu Jingi, before the court based on which Senior State Counsel M. A. Adamu prosecuted the case against Mr. Numan.

The businessman is said to have written and published statements in Hausa and Fulfulde on his Facebook page on July 11, 12, 13, 17, 20 and 29, 2021, in which he reportedly described Governor Fintiri as “a thief and father of thieves”.

He is reported to have alleged that the governor stole Indomie noodles and spaghetti as well as hundreds of billions of naira.

The State alleged that the statements generated tension among supporters of Fintiri and that it took the intervention of operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to calm down restive supporters of the governor.

The prosecuting senior state counsel claimed that the youth leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yola North lodged a complaint with the DSS, which then arrested Mr. Numan for prosecution.

At the trial on August 11, the prosecutor called two witnesses to testified against Mr. Numan and tendered confessional statements in English and Hausa.

Delivering judgment immediately afterwards, the magistrate, Mr. Basani, found Mr. Numan guilty on the two counts with which he was charged. He sentenced the businessman to two years imprisonment with an option of N50,000 fine for using abusive language against Governor Fintiri and sentenced him to an additional  six months in prison without an option of a fine for disturbance of public peace.